Bursts of Nostalgia

First, I’m not talking about the manipulation of nostalgia, which seems to be getting used all over the places.  This is more about you walking along or sitting at your desk.  Just going through the day or relaxing.  All of a sudden, you get hit by a nostalgic memory that leaves you a little off.  The emotional pathway for me usually goes like this:

  1. Memory strikes and I feel oddly relaxed.
  2. There’s a bout of happiness and mild euphoria as my senses go back.
  3. Wonderment as I try to lock down more of the memory.
  4. Sense of loss and yearning as it passes away.

Honestly, this feels like a cruel trick of the mind.  As if it’s trying to convince you to revisit or reenact your past during a time when you can’t.  Maybe my mind is trying to escape or create a pulse of happiness in a desperate attempt to ward off sadness.  This has been happening a lot to me this year, which is why I’m leaning toward that option.  The divorce has left me feeling alone and broken in a way that I can’t really explain it well to others, so my mind might be grasping at childhood memories.  Some of them are traceable while others are incredibly random.  Here are the common ones:

  1. There are random times when I suddenly want to play an RPG video game like ‘Illusion of Gaia’ or ‘Final Fantasy IX’.  I was never the biggest player of these games, but I had a few that I loved.  Those two, ‘Super Mario RPG’ ‘Kingdom Hearts’ and ‘Lunar: The Silver Star Story’ would probably be the big ones.  There was something about wandering a vast world with great music and a winding tale that made me lose my worries.  I simply can’t fit this old love into my life right now, so the memories leave me a little sadder than when I started.  Again, no trigger here from what I can tell.
  2. Kind of related to the previous one, but I keep hearing music from ‘Super Castlevania’ in my head.  It’s another childhood favorite that I got really good at.  I’ll put one of the songs down at the button.  No idea why this one turns up.
  3. A big one that does have a source is when I’m driving along and hit a section of the parkway that is surrounded by trees.  Only happens when there isn’t traffic too, so there’s a sense of isolation in a way.  I begin to remember the sense of being in the car for family trips that took us through more rural areas.  Mountains, forests, farmlands, rivers, and lakes would be around us instead of buildings.  I’d always zone out as a child and imagine either other worlds or beings from those worlds wandering around the landscape.  Even when I was in college, I’d get this sensation as I drove from Long Island to Oswego, which is upstate New York.  I kind of miss those areas and I feel like it’s hard for me to go back there.  Guess the memories are connected to doing things as a family and doing it solo would twist the emotional knife.

I don’t know if there’s anything that I can use these bouts of nostalgia for.  They don’t seem entirely useful in terms of inspiration.  As I said, they come off as an odd defensive mechanism against some mental anguish.  I don’t benefit physically from it and the fleeting happiness does more harm than good at times.  Kind of fits with the way human bodies don’t make a lot of sense at times.  I’d go into that, but I’m sure I’d get into a fight with people in the comments.  Anyway, I can’t figure this out, but it’s enough to make me write about it.

Am I the only one who gets this?  Has anybody been hit by nostalgia and figured out what triggered it?  For that matter, is nostalgia a good or bad thing?

Now for the video I promised.  Was torn between ‘Bloody Tears’ and the ending, so I went with the more upbeat one:

Bonus since I’d forgotten how great the opening song of ‘Lunar: The Silver Star Story’ was.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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32 Responses to Bursts of Nostalgia

  1. Everyone experiences nostalgia. I notice a lot of middle-aged women posting their wedding pictures from the ten years ago. Or moms posting when their kids were little and sweet.

    Facebook preys on that impulse, suggesting ‘Memories’ on one’s personal feed.

    I like your examples of nostalgia and it sounds like you’ve traced them to their source. I can’t think of similar examples except for smells or tastes, so maybe I’ve got food issues. 🍔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L. Marie says:

    With all of the remakes happening, I feel nostalgic sometimes. When I’m sad, I’m nostalgic for happier times. Sometimes I need to revisit those memories to recapture who I was–times when I was less fearful and more willing to take a risk.


    • I’m kind of annoyed with the remakes. They take advantage of nostalgia, but it’s very predatory. It also creates an environment where nostalgia is a marketing tool, which takes away some of its charm. I noticed yesterday how often people talked about it when they discussed the new Star Wars and other franchises. It’s like that’s what people think of nostalgia now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        You’re right–it is a marketing tool and is often predatory. A lot of my friends have stopped going to the movies consequently.


      • I’m nearing that point. Mostly seeing kid movies with my son since he picks things that look fun. Stuff aimed at adults always hold this ‘remember this old thing? Great! Now watch this slightly related or similar new thing’.


  3. Mae Clair says:

    I think we all experience moments of nostalgia, and–depending on our mood when they hit–they can resonate with joy or sadness. I had no idea you were going through a divorce. I’m so saddened to hear that. Nostalgia, no doubt, may hit harder for you than most. I hope you can find joy and happiness in those memories. I wish you one the best, and a path back to peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. It started in December, but it was last August that I became aware of the possibility. It’s a big reason why I’m not writing and publishing like I used to. Not that social on WordPress either because I have more blue days than bright ones. I’ve noticed the nostalgia that turns up doesn’t have a distinct emotion. I just feel like something is reminding me of the past. I really can’t put a clear definition to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mae Clair says:

        I’m sure it’s a rough road, Charles. I can’t even imagine what you must be dealing with. I pray each day will get better for you and you’ll find peace in the growth of self.


      • Thanks. Peace is hard to come by these days since I had a busy summer. I’m back to my TA job tomorrow too, so I didn’t have much of a break. Learned my lesson about that. I need time to destress.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wander around in a nostalgia haze at times. I seem to do it after writing something that triggers the bout. Of course, the nostalgia hits full force while doing something totally unrelated like mashing potatoes. I hate it when the vision or thought goes away.


  5. Maybe you’re reaching a point where your mind doesn’t dwell on every little thing now. You have time to let it drift. I say enjoy it when those moments come, and let them happen.


  6. C.E.Robinson says:

    Wow, Charles! What s topic for comments. Random thoughts for me bring nostalgia. I don’t question or care what triggers them. Sometimes they are related to writing, but that’s specific to something in my life. Whatever, it’s best to just go with the flow and not dwell on the meaning, or the cause. Happy weekend! 📚🎶 Christine


    • I’m seeing a few mention that one shouldn’t dwell on the meaning. The thing is that I’m very curious about why this happens because it’s disconcerting at times. To be just be in a conversation or working on something and then it strikes throws me off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • C.E.Robinson says:

        Charles, I don’t think it’s random . There’s something that triggers or had triggered the memory. A word, sound, color, a TV scene, something someone said or you read. All those not necessarily at the time when you are in conversation or working on something. The brain stores up a lot of stuff. 📚🎶 Christine


  7. Every so often I get flashbacks out of the blue – some good that make me smile, some not so good that make me cringe about something I said or did.


  8. It sounds like your brain wants comfort food. At least with a spiritual nostalgia you won’t gain weight like you would with actual comfort food.


  9. Harry says:

    I love getting nostalgic feels…and then I hate it when the feeling leaves


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